Am I the only person on the planet who hates watching award shows? Now that we have the Golden Globes and a couple of other awards shows under our belt, it won’t be long until the big one, the Academy Awards will be upon us. It’s not that I’m opposed to the awards themselves and I love the glamour and beautiful dresses associated with the event, I just find the shows themselves to be painful to watch so I prefer to simply check the newspaper the next morning to get the results. Much easier and less stressful.
No matter what your profession or role in life, a little recognition goes a long way. About thirty-five years ago, my boss happened to notice I was working late every night (we weren’t paid for overtime) trying to keep up with the workload so he gave me a raise of twenty dollars a week and I’ve never forgotten that gesture of recognition. Authors are rewarded once in a while with a book prize or a well-deserving world figure such as Malala Yousafzai will receive the Nobel Peace Prize but otherwise, the majority of us function in our jobs with little fanfare or recognition—unless you’re an actor, director or other person working in the motion picture or television business.
The superficiality of the entertainment business is not news and we’re all participants in furthering this by going to the movies, buying celebrity magazines and watching television. I love going to the movies and part of the fun is hunkering down with my bucket of warm, over-priced popcorn and barrel of diet pop resting in its convenient armrest cup holder. For an outlay of about twenty-five dollars I get to watch people pretend to be someone else in the context of telling a story. Who doesn’t love a good story. It’s art and we need art.
What annoys the crap out of me and makes it impossible for me to enjoy the award shows is the incredible inability of the presenters and recipients to conduct themselves in a professional manner on the stage. Instead, the presenters stand up there unable to string three coherent words together without squinting at the teleprompter, often flubbing their lines and generally delivering an abominable performance. And the award recipients act like they were pulled in off the street, had no time to prepare an appropriate response and shuffle around grasping for words before the music cuts in. You would think that a person who has the ability to memorize pages of dialogue for a movie script would be able to compose and deliver an articulate and sincere thank you speech.
And speaking of music, the production numbers are usually excruciating to watch. They try too hard. They’re overproduced. They strive for an emotional response that will never materialize. And they’re usually a giant waste of time. Much as I love Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, even they seemed strained delivering their material at the beginning of the Golden Globes. The jokes are usually limp and delivered cautiously so naturally they often fall flat. After a few minutes, I switched channels.
The pre-show fashion parade on the red carpet is always interesting but all the behind-the-scenes work by hundreds of stylists, designers, hairdressers and makeup artists has eliminated any semblance of spontaneous glamour and fashion taste being exhibited by the stars on their own merits. While I don’t expect Jennifer Lawrence to whip up her gown herself the night before, I would like to see more Diane Keaton-types who have the confidence and presence to show up in something they chose themselves from their own closet. Remember the year Sharon Stone looked stunning in a crisp white Gap shirt and evening skirt?
These people did not cure cancer, feed a village or rescue the young school girls kidnapped by Boko Haram in Nigeria. And for pretending to be someone else for ninety minutes on-screen, they’re heralded with an event that is broadcast to billions of people around the world that results in international fame, obscenely high salary levels and a statuette to remind yourself and everyone else that you’re good at pretending.
I realize I’m in the minority in hating award shows and I can guarantee that when I receive my Oscar for being the Best Girlfriend of a Woman Who is the Aunt of a Major Stylist-to-the Stars (Brad Goreski), I will not pull a cocktail napkin out of my evening bag and read a hastily prepared, poorly delivered speech; it will be concise, eloquent and memorized. I will look you in the eye, smile and deliver my words in a clear, well-modulated voice. In this world of recognizing achievement in the superficial entertainment business it’s the very least I can do. Thank you. Thank you very much.
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